LANGUAGE ENVIRONMENT AND GENDER IDENTITY ATTAINMENT

Authors


  • The research reported here was supported, in part, by grants from the Office of Research Administration of The University of Michigan, the Social Science Research Committee of the University of Haifa, and the University of Jyväskylä.

Abstract

This study attempted to explore the question whether sex-determined grammatical gender loading in the native language will have an effect on the development of gender identity. The empirical question asked was, Will there be a relationship between the amount of linguistic emphasis on sex-determined gender and the average age of attaining gender identity in children, in a specific language environment? Three groups of children, one in Israel, one in the USA, and one in Finland, were tested on the Michigan Gender Identity Test (MIGIT). The findings indicate a direct relationship between gender loading in the native language and gender identity attainment. It appears that the Israeli children have a significant, albeit temporary, advantage over their American and Finnish counterparts in the timing of gender development.

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